Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Plastic Amp

Yesterday, while shopping at Famous Foods, I bumped into Annastacia McDonald (fourth from the left; or middle, if you count the reflection), a member of an art gang that co-curator Allison Collins and I have spent the past year researching towards an exhibition this January. The name of this gang (to paraphrase Talking Heads) is Mainstreeters.

Although Annastacia has refused our request to take part in an on-camera interview, she is generous when it comes to informal, and indeed spontaneous, meetings. On this occasion, she told me about the origin of Plastic Amp, a project she was part of in the mid-1970s.

According to Annastacia, she, Mary Ready and Paul Wong were hitch-hiking to a party in North Vancouver (after having dropped acid at Robert's Creek) when they found themselves inside a drugstore. It was while floating through the aisles that they came upon a selection of small plastic toys; and near these toys, a supply of name-tag pins.

Moments later the three were in the parking lot, where they heated up the toys and affixed them to the pins. Once assembled, they pinned the toys to their garments and, upon entering the party, Syd Morozoff shrieked, "Oh my god where did you get those I want one!"

From that night on, whenever Annastacia, Mary or Paul went out, they brought with them their pins, which they would sell under the company name Plastic Amp. For the longest time Allison and I did not know what Plastic Amp stood for, until yesterday, when Annastacia told me that the "amp" part stands for their names -- Annastacia, Mary and Paul.

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